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Chamomile tea is a type of herbal tea and is well known for its numerous health benefits. However, women need to exercise caution while consuming herbal teas during pregnancy as some of the ingredients in these teas may be harmful to pregnant women. Chamomile tea is generally considered safe to drink during pregnancy but should be limited to one or two small cups a day.
What is Chamomile Tea?
Chamomile tea is a kind of herbal tea made using the flowers of the German chamomile plant, scientifically called Matricaria recutita. This plant and its flowers are very similar to daisies. Chamomile may also be made using the flowers of the Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), although the German chamomile is the one that is more commonly used. The flower heads are cut, sun-dried and then crumbled. These are then stored in an air-tight jar. The tea is made using the chamomile tea powder and boiling hot water.
Benefits of Having Chamomile Tea During Pregnancy
Chamomile has several health benefits like relieving muscular pain, curing insomnia, soothing menstrual cramps, and remedying runny noses. Moderate amounts of chamomile tea can be beneficial for women during pregnancy in the following ways.
1. Cures Sleeplessness
A small cup of chamomile tea before bed calms you down and helps you sleep much better. Chamomile has a soothing effect on nerves and has a mild sedative effect, thus curing insomnia.
2. Improves Resistance and Immunity
Chamomile contains nutrients that help the body fight off infections and increase resistance to diseases. Drinking chamomile tea helps the body increase immunity and prevents germs from invading the body.
3. Relieves Muscular Pain
Chamomile tea helps relieve muscle pain and cramps by increasing the amount of the amino acid glycine in the body. Glycine can act as a muscle and nerve relaxant, thus soothing muscle pain and cramps. It also calms you down by relaxing your nerves.
4. Cures Mouth Ulcers
Chamomile tea can cure mouth sores and ulcers when used as a mouthwash. Rinse your mouth with the tea twice a day to see a reduction in the number of mouth sores.
5. Prevents Cancer and Heart Disease
Chamomile contains polyphenols that can prevent heart disease. Chamomile is also rich in antioxidants that can reduce your risk of developing different types of cancer.
6. Aids in Digestion and Lessens Morning Sickness
Chamomile can soothe the stomach and relieve gas, bloating and constipation. It contains anti-inflammatory agents that can reduce inflammation in the digestive tract. A small cup of chamomile tea also soothes you and helps reduce nausea caused by morning sickness.
Side Effects of Drinking Chamomile Tea When Pregnant
Moderation is the key to benefitting from drinking chamomile tea. Excessive consumption of chamomile tea during pregnancy can cause unpleasant and even dangerous side-effects. Some of the side effects of drinking chamomile tea during pregnancy include:
1. Can Lead to a Miscarriage and Preterm Delivery
Excessive consumption of chamomile tea during pregnancy has been linked to miscarriage and premature birth. Drinking too much chamomile tea makes it act as an abortion-inducing drug, causing a miscarriage. It can also trigger uterine contractions much too early, resulting in preterm delivery.
2. Can Cause Circulation Problems in Babies
Problems in the circulatory system of babies have been linked to excessive consumption of chamomile tea by the mothers during pregnancy.
3. Can Trigger Allergies
Chamomile belongs to the daisy and aster flower families. If you are allergic to these flowers, you should avoid chamomile tea as it could trigger the same allergic reaction that these flowers do, such as nasal congestion, runny nose, and red, itchy, watery eyes.
4. Could Make You Drowsy
Chamomile has a mild sedative effect. So if you drink too much chamomile tea, it can make you feel very drowsy.
5. Can React with Other Medications
Chamomile has been found to affect the functioning of blood thinning medication, sedatives, painkillers, and antimicrobial drugs. Chamomile can react to these drugs and alter their functioning.
6. Mimics the Hormone Oestrogen
Chamomile has properties similar to the female pregnancy hormone known as oestrogen. Hence, it is better to avoid chamomile if you have any risk of developing breast or uterine cancer, as the chamomile may increase the chances of you developing cancer.
7. Can React with Anaesthetics Used During C-Sections
Chamomile has been known to react with anaesthetic drugs and cause adverse side effects. Hence, it is better to avoid it before undergoing a C-section.
8. Can Increase Nausea
Precautions to Take When Drinking Chamomile Tea
First of all, it’s important to note that you do not include chamomile tea in your pregnancy diet without consulting your doctor. Ask your healthcare provider about the side effects of drinking chamomile tea during pregnancy. Also, confirm what would be a safe dosage for you and your growing baby. If you are allowed to drink chamomile tea during pregnancy, here’s what you need to know.
1. Buy the tea from a reliable source.
If you buy the tea from a reputed and reliable source, you can be sure that there are no harmful extra additives in your tea.
2. Use the flower heads.
Use the dried flower heads of chamomile rather than the leaves to make the tea. The leaves cause the tea to taste bitter.
3. Use in moderation.
It is better to use 15 grams or less of the chamomile extract while brewing chamomile tea. If you are wondering whether you can have chamomile tea while pregnant, the answer is yes. One to two small cups a day is usually considered safe for pregnant women.
Does Chamomile Tea Help Induce Labour?
There is inadequate research to conclusively prove that chamomile can induce labour. However, drinking an excessive amount of chamomile tea has been linked to miscarriages and preterm births. Chamomile, when consumed in large quantities, can induce contractions that can cause miscarriages and premature births.
Tips to Make Chamomile Tea at Home
Making chamomile at home is a simple process. Here is the method for brewing your own chamomile tea at home:
- Buy chamomile tea extract from a reliable store.
- Heat a small cup of water and bring it to a boil.
- Remove the water from the stove and pour it into another cup.
- Add the chamomile tea bag or extract and cover the top of the cup.
- Strain the water to remove the chamomile extract.
- Add a teaspoon of honey to this and enjoy your freshly prepared chamomile tea.
Chamomile tea is beneficial for pregnant women in small amounts, like 1-2 little cups a day. However, check with the doctor before including it in your diet. Ensure that you avoid drinking too much chamomile tea during pregnancy.